My family recently went on vacation. We spent a lovely time in Walt Disney World, showing Alex all the things that we love about the place: the rides, the shows, the fireworks, the food (OMG, the food. Don't roll your eyes, Disney has tons of gourmet restaurants.) We love the place so much that we spend at least 2 weeks there every year and more if we can swing it.
Usually we come home with tons of pictures (and we did), lots of T-shirts (less this time due to the crappy economy), a new Christmas ornament (got that, and it's adorable) and a boatload of stuff for my scrapbooking. And we leave with a sense of sadness and satisfaction intermingled; bittersweet and worn out.
This time, however, was different. We were eager to leave, the bittersweet skewing sharply to the bitter near the end of our trip when my car was stolen. We parked it one night, right outside our room, carried an exhausted, sleeping Alex inside and went to bed. The next morning we packed up the diaper bag, got everyone dressed and stepped into what felt like unreality. We looked where the car was parked, and then we looked again. I asked Jym to be sure that I hadn't forgotten and then we both looked stupidly around the parking lot, as though the Jeep might have gotten bored and gone for a drink in the middle of the night, returning to a different space in its confusion.
The cops were called and Disney stepped up, giving us a stroller and providing transportation for the remainder of our stay and the return trip home, 650 miles away. We waited, hoping that the car would be found and also hoping that it wouldn't (because who doesn't want a reason to go get a new car?). The Orange County Sheriffs called us on Halloween; my car had been located at an industrial park about 20 miles outside of Orlando. I felt a sense of relief and then one of disappointment when they told us that the radio and stroller had been taken. But it was no big deal; everything was covered by insurance and stuff can be replaced.
My car finally made it back to town today. We went to the shop where they're checking it out to get some things out of it that I had been needing. I opened the door and then I couldn't stop crying. My things, all the little things that accumulate, were scattered everywhere. There were papers in the floor, all over the backseat; a CD was discarded in the passenger floorboard, the only remnant of the dozens that I kept in the car. Jym's Air Force sweatshirt was thrown over the backseat, but mine was missing. The change jar that I keep in the console was gone. Jym's Zippo was gone, taken from its place in the ashtray.
And it finally hit me, what seems like such a nothing on paper. It was just a car, just some stuff and a handful of change. But it was mine. These things, this space, it was mine.
And now it doesn't feel like mine anymore. I sat in the driver's seat; my feet didn't reach the pedals and it was leaned back at an uncomfortable angle. I felt like there was someone lurking over my shoulder, but of course I was alone, sitting in a car and crying in the bright afternoon sunlight. Jym came up behind me and I leaned into him; crying out the loss that I thought I hadn't felt.